By Abdul Rasool Syed
October 18, 2019
“The basis of all religions is compassion and justice which differentiates us from the animal kingdom,” said the Pakistan premier Imran Khan recently. Indubitably, compassion is the bedrock of every religion. It is the religion that inculcates in man the virtues of philanthropy and altruism. It denounces all kinds of evil practices, prejudicial to human’s peaceful existence. However, Islam that epitomizes the ethos of compassion and mercy is often subjected to stricture by the Islamophobes. They project Islam as the religion of terrorism and extremism—a religion where virtues of compassion and mercy find no place—it is in fact, a notion based on sheer ignorance, prejudice and bias. Contrary to the notion permeated by anti-Islam forces, Islam lays great emphasis on compassion and mercy. Among Allah’s own names are Rahman and Rahim (compassionate and Merciful). A Muslim is admonished to begin his every work by reciting Bi Ism-i- Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim ( begin in the name of Allah Who is most Compassionate and Merciful). Thus a Muslim is supposed to invoke Allah the Compassionate and Merciful at every step. Moreover, Allah the sublime also sent his messenger as a mercy for the entire world. The Holy Quran, in this respect, says:
And we have not sent you, (O, Mohammad) except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Quran: 21-106-107).
The Holy Prophet (SAW) was very kind and sympathetic towards the downtrodden section of the society. He is reported to have said that if any poor person remains hungry in a locality, no angel will descend in that locality until that hungry poor is fed. Also, the Prophet is reported to have said that it is more meritorious to feed a hungry widow than to pray whole night. It is also reported that Holy Prophet (SAW) said:” Give good news to the poor Muhajrin that they will enter paradise forty years before the rich”. In addition, the holy Prophet (SAW) often used to pray:” O, Allah! Keep me alive as a poor man; make me die as a poor man and resurrect me in the company of the poor.”(Bukhari) The Holy Prophet (SAW) was also kind to orphans and asked his companions to be gentle to them. Abu Hurairah reported him saying: “Anyone who treats well an orphan under his care, he and I shall be like these two in paradise”, putting two of his fingers together. (Al-Bukhari). It is also reported by the same narrator that once a man complained to the Holy Prophet (SAW) of having a hard heart, he said: “Pat an orphan’s head and feed the poor”. (Mishkat)
Additionally, the Holy Prophet (SAW) was particularly loving and compassionate towards the slaves. He used to say, “They are your brothers, give them to eat what you eat, give them to wear what you wear.” (Bukhari, Muslim). He also encouraged the practice of liberating the slaves by setting up an example by liberating his own slave Zaid (RA) and adopted him as his son and treated him most affectionately. Zaid (R.A) became so attached to him that when his father came to take him away after the Holy Prophet (SAW) liberated him, he refused to go with him and chose, instead, to stay with the Holy Prophet (SAW). Another vivid manifestation of his compassion for the weaker sections of society was that he not only got Bilal Habshi (RA) manumitted but also gave him the highest honour of giving Azan ie calling the faithful to prayer five times. Prophet (SAW) was equally kind to animals. The Prophet, according to one hadith described the entire creation (including humans, animals and trees and plants) as the family of Allah (ayal Allah) and all should be treated with compassion and sensitivity.
We find in Imam Malik’s Al-Muwatta that the Holy Prophet (SAW) once was seen gently wiping the face and mane of his horse with his gown. On being asked by his companions he explained that he was admonished by Allah for neglecting his horse. Hazrat ‘Ali (R.A), the Prophet’s son-in-law used to admonish the Muslims not to eat too much meat and make their stomachs graveyards for animals.
Furthermore, the Arabs were very cruel to animals. It was a common practice in Arabia to put a ring round the neck of a camel. People used to cut pieces of flesh from living animals for eating. These inhuman and cruel practices were discarded on the orders of Holy Prophet (SAW). The Holy Prophet (SAW) was so kind and gentle to animals that he advised his companions to be considerate even at the time of slaughtering them for food. He asked them to slaughter them with the sharpest weapon, causing minimum pain and suffering to the animal. He forbade them to sharpen the weapon in front of animal (Mishkat). He also used to advise his followers: “Fear Allah in your treatment of these animals who cannot speak.’ (Mishkat).
Finally, the Holy Prophet (SAW) also evinced remarkable compassion even towards his bitter enemies. The Quraish rebuked him, taunted and mocked at him, even tried to kill him. When the persecution of the Quraish became unbearable, his companions requested him to curse them, but the Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “O, Allah! Forgive my people for they know not”…
Abdul Rasool Syed is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.
Source: Pak Observer